Hitler's Children - BBC Documentary

On Tuesday I watched a documentary called Hitler's Children through BBC iPlayer. I think it originally aired on BBC2 in May but was repeated recently so luckily I was able to catch it after missing it the first time.

This moving documentary tells the story of some of the descendants of infamous Nazi figures and how they try to come to to terms with what their forebearers did and try to lead a normal life with all the connotations of sharing the same name or even looks. Despite the title (which is slightly misleading as Hitler had no children) I certainly wasn't disappointed with the quality and obvious sensitivity that went into the making the documentary. I am a bit of a history buff anyway, and with the social aspect of it as well, it was a must-see for me.

The descendants all tried to come to terms and combat the shame and sometimes shock at the atrocities that happened in their own differing ways. Bettina Goering, the great-niece of Hermann Goering chose to sterilise herself (her brother as well) and 30 years ago moved away from Germany completely to live in the states. (Santa Fe, New Mexico to be precise)
Meanwhile Rainer Hoess (grandson of the officer in charge at Auschwitz) visited the concentration camp for the first time as in his mid 40's. Note he was not allowed to go on school trips due to his surname.


Rainer Hoess
There was a touching moment when Rainer was doing a Q&A with Israeli children. Rainer obviously felt a great sense of shame towards not just towards his grandfathers actions but from his fathers as well; his father grew up in the camp and was a post-WW2 Nazi sympathiser and denied the atrocities that happened there. When a surviving former prisoner asked if he could shake his hand this lead to a warm emotional embrace.

"To receive the approval of someone who survived those horrors and knows for sure that it wasn't you, that you didn't do it..." Rainer Hoess
This helped him to start to get over the guilt that had plagued him all his life.
Another high point for me personally was when Niklas Frank, son of Hans Frank; Nazi Germany's chief jurist and Governor-General of occupied Poland who was executed in 1945, was having a conversation with his grown-up daughter about how his actions have cleared the slate for her and future generations. Niklas took a much more aggressive and combative stance on how to not just deal with the issues at hand but to teach the lessons of the horrible events that took place. He has devoted his life to writing books demonising his parents and touring schools in Germany denouncing his father's actions, much to the chagrin of the rest of his Neo-Nazi siblings who are now all dead ("as it should be") His daughter went to say how proud she was of him and I thought this was a touching moment as it links the main themes of the programme itself. The parent-child relationship which was such a negative for Niklas and his Nazi father, which was itself turned into a positive outcome for Niklas & his daughter.
All in all, I found it very thought invoking, which my brain loves! I definitely recommend to get to round watching it if you can, you won't be disappointed...

Comments

  1. Thanks for your very great and objective Article at your blog. The world need more people like you. Keep your brain open.....
    Thanks !!!
    R.H.
    Germany

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words. :)

      Hope life is going OK for you!

      Delete

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